Art in the community.

well It’s happening. My exhibition “At The Swim” goes into Hackney Central Library on Monday and film crews are scratching at my studio door for a piece of the action; it being the importance of art by the community, for the community and in the community. Couldn’t get more doors wide open than Hackney Central Library what with its reading groups, yoga sessions, frequent visits by famous local poets and Holloway born writers and huge nods to all events celebratory . The art exhibitions do however go into locked cabinets. Vestry  House Museum’s community art  space is ye olde anciente brick wall which allows neither pins nor nails. Hackney’s space is good compared.
Last year was the annus fullupus of art in the community. Up Your Street subscribers were on it: feminist collage, Soapbox, Mudras and gestures, art therapy, weird and wondrous at Rosetta Arts, animation, macaroni pictures and lectures galore. We were there, saturated to the Emin with fridge fronts holding up works of art.
So I think I’m well placed as both giver and receiver to espouse my take on the fashionable social engagement
business of art in the community.

Up Your Street Issue 4

Yahoo! 5 seniors joined Up Your Street in two days last week. Suits us.

                                 Up Your Street Issue 4
Sun 24th Jan free with Sky Al Jazeera Channel special “Black France” outlining over three episodes the immigration of Black Africans to France from the C20th and before. Great archive films.
Mon 25th Jan   free 5pm.Stratford Library E15 The Grove next to Morrison’s an art exhibition launch about light.
Tues 26th Jan free 6.45-8pm Chapel Cinema in Bethnal Green screening “Pressure”.(1976)
Wed 27th Jan   £4 12-3pm POSH CLUB see below.
Thurs 28th Jan free 10.30-11.30pm. Hackney Central Library.Book reading club with Lydia, coffee and cake. This month’s pleasure is Harper Lee’s second book. Just turn up
Tues 2nd Feb £3 three course dinner 12-2pm. Sally’s Kitchen at Salvation Army hall E11 down by Leytonstone overground.Doors open at 10.30 to be amongst warmth and company. No need to book.

                        free Hackney Central Library for four weeks during library opening hours an exhibition depicting women in the changing rooms. Acrylic on canvas. Some oil paintings.


                        free Stratford Picture House during opening hours. An exhibition up for one month recording the inhumanity of the EU Refugee crisis Autumn 2015. Entitled Save Our Souls. Acrylics and oils on canvas. Presented by flat50arts.

SOS promo forthehouses E15 and Hack.jpg
Wed 3rd Feb free 10.30-12, Chingford Library E4 come and draw faces. 
                       £4  12-3pm. POSH CLUB in Hackney . Eat and dance and see cabaret .Book in advance with H.07938985644
                        £5.50 if a Silver Screen member. Stratford Picture house E15. 12.40pm Michael Caine in YOUTH (Cert15) 5 stars.

What I know about FGM

What I know about FGM.

Haven’t heard anyone talking about it.(loads on Twitter and telly news last year)

Never heard a man talking about it. (seen male telly interviewer)

have to know to whom I’m talking because it’s a shocking thing when you first get it to your ears

In the seventies some called it clitoridectomy

some called it circumcision

most never say any of those words

Anthropologists said it was to do with cleansing a female of man’s parts (The clitoris being a female penis) and the circumcisors of boys said, well, anthropologists said that there was the cutting away of a man’s female bits (The penis has a clitoral hood).

Then as women got to know about themselves post 1960s /post Kinsey we heard well a few of us heard that the removal of the clitoris was to curb women’s sexual desires and keep them sexless as it became known that vaginal orgasms equated clitoral orgasms and women could “do it for themselves” i e be orgasmic.

That mothers drag their daughters to the cutting post

That in UK now girls are being cut at age 5-8 years ILLEGALLY.

That hags use razors to cut flesh and that the pain is unimaginable

That that must be the point when girls hate their mothers and find no allies.

That FGM is abuse and is dictated by elders.

That communities which practise FGM (illegally)  make women subservient then celebrate.

That when I cried at the photo of a girl being dragged to her cut another woman  said to  me, “She will grow up then get her own daughter cut.”

That Enfield that previously white bastion of English suburbia has a problem and like many places is slowly like a snail reacting. It takes ages to teach people the language of FGM as many many people cannot voice the words labia and clitoris. I know of not one person who says those words.

That there is trauma affecting a whole population of young girls who will carry mental distress with them for life unless they get counselling and recognition of being part of the 50% of humans sharing our planet.

This is not an African problem or a cultural norm at all. This is abuse of babies and women and is worldwide.

A guy went to prison in Canada for mutilating his own daughter (she’s just a girl remember) and came out two years ago. The child will never get her flesh back will she?

And on and on. This is not a sisters unite thing. This is a world health priority and one for the courts.

What I know…and the rest.


cut by hibo wardere.png

Up At Hackney Central Library

Femi Alagbe’s hand made dolls are on display at Hackney Central Library for the rest of this month. The work is extremely well-displayed. Looks like the V&A Children’s Museum in Bethnal Green!


One can buy the dolls about £39.00 each off Etsy at Fela and Friends.I thought it was workshop inspired but no. It’s business. Good luck.femi dolls

So far, I’ve enjoyed photography, some West Indian crochet crafting and Hoxton evening class art pieces.

Yes the display is edible.

This ole doll comes into the cabinet in March

.barbs 2

about FGM

Last year they made such a fuss on telly news about female genital mutilation. I knew not one person who had heard that Feb 6th was International Zero Tolerance to FGM Day and I know no-one to whom I can even mention FGM. There’s a a whole smelly knicker graphic ness about FGM and a new and strange vocabulary to know about.

I hear lesbians chat about clits but never cis women. I certainly never hear my generation use words like labia, clitoris and genital. Never. Still most people I know have not understood International Women’s Day or heard of it.

In the seventies my mate married an African and they went out to the continent to live. She’s died within the year from malaria on her brain. Her husband like many people had no idea what a clitoris was but was in the bent of his mother who was pressing for her “white” grandchild to be baptised and then circumcised. My friend was on cut watch all the time because, don’t forget, despite being highly educated, she was still just a woman with no say.

At the death of her mother the child with Downs Syndrome was sent to her  grandparents. in the UK. Phew!

The fight against ending crap FGM is an old old fight and not helped by the “Gender Minister”(sic) in Sierra Leone giving the go-ahead for rusty old hags to use rusty old razor blades to cut flesh from girl children because it’s culture. Culture, my arse.2016-01-03-12.43.05-1-1.jpg.jpeg

Issue 3. Up Your Street

Up Your Street.         Issue 3

Tues 19th  Jan free 6.45-9pm “Sapphire” (1959) screening at  Chapel Cinema in Bethnal Green
                        Old Ford Road from the station at Bethnal green or the 254 bus stop from Hackney then walk  a couple of blocks up to St Margaret’s.
                         free 3-5pm Open School East in De Beauvoir, posher Hackney at the old Rose Lipman building. Called “Hackney Stream” this is a seniors’ group for radio programme making and other digital joys, visits, monthly tea dances, etc.
Wed 20th   Jan £4 POSH Club Stoke Newington noon -3pm for a nice filling tea and cabaret. Been yet? Book ahead on 07938985644 with a lady called H.
Thurs 21st Jan free 10.15-11.15 am Coffee and cake reading group club at Hackney Central Library.A very informal group for men and women and we’ll discuss Harper Lee’s other book. Lydia hosts.
                           free      11-5pm Open School East and an introduction to a new art project about suffragettes, feminism, and community activism techniques with artist Prender. Workshops follow. Email OSE for a place
Fri 22nd     Jan free Look out for @50WalthamForest celebrational textile art from Sba Shaikh at Leyton Library.
Eastside Community Heritage is looking for Jewish stories of migration to Essex and East London at 326 High Road Ilford.
Feb 1-29 Stratford Picture House exhibition of paintings by Gillian Lawrence recording the EU Refugee Crisis 2015 with flat50arts
Feb 2-29 Hackney Central Library exhibition of paintings by Gillian Lawrence entitled “At the Swim” depicting swimmers with disabilities, mature women and others in the changing rooms.
A framed art work I bought with a lottery win